In the 20th century and prior, outdoor advertising was simple but hit-and-miss.  You designed some posters, and decided where you wanted to put them.  This decision would be based on a combination of factors: chiefly where you thought your potential customers were going to be, and how much it was going to cost to put your poster in a particular location.  If you were scientific about it, you might conduct surveys to determine the profile of people in potential locations, or you might be convinced by data supplied by the shopping mall, or station concourse managers.  If you weren’t scientific, you might just use your gut feel to choose the most suitable sites.  Whatever you did, in the 20th century, you didn’t know how many people had seen your posters, whether some posters were working harder for you than others, whether some were better during the day, others in the evenings, or at weekends.  And you had no idea what impact your posters had and whether it made it more likely people would buy your product or service, compared to your competitors.  This is because your posters generated no direct dialogue with customers – all you had to measure were such metrics as total spend and “share of voice”.

Here in the 21st century, advertising has not really moved on – so far.  But now things have the potential to change, to the benefit of brand owners and retailers.  This has come about by the explosion of social media (such as Facebook and Twitter) and new technologies like Near Field Communications (NFC) and QR codes.  Now, customers can signify their interest in a brand’s products directly to the brand owner, via a Facebook “Like”, a tweet, or an NFC tap.  But now the challenge is to collate these disparate inputs, and form a coherent picture of an individual consumer’s preferences – one who has already signified at least some interest in what you’re trying to sell.

Touché has developed a new platform, “touché connect” to help brands, retailers and their agencies manage the inputs from customers and turn them into meaningful information which can help to sell more product.  Because the inputs are deliberate interactions, not just poster sightings, the data is more meaningful and actionable.  And for the first time, brands can have real data about which sites are best for posters and when, allowing underperforming sites (posters or online) to be eliminated, and campaigns honed.

The dialogue can be about more than just preferences.  Touché connect can link to loyalty or coupon schemes; or it can include gamification – a rapidly growing technique for encouraging consumers to change behaviour.  Knowing the physical location of a consumer (through NFC or GPRS) means the brand owner can offer game based rewards for taking immediate, location based actions.  The point is that the consumer has engaged with the brand owner.  It’s then up to that brand, retailer or agency to make the most of that engagement.

Touché connect can also capture outcomes, if the brand owner allows purchase information from within a smartphone app.  What we have tried to do with this platform is to enable the direct tracking, from seeing an ad, to engagement, to purchase.  Over time, more and more it should be possible to attach a direct financial outcome to various marketing activities, something that in the 20th century we could only dream of.

You can call us or contact us through the touché website if you want to discuss any of this further: www.touche-nfc.com, or use the Contact Form from this website.

touché is a partner of Fenbrook Consulting, and offers a range of NFC services, including:

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